I have dedicated this page, and all the pages on my website, to my three kids Alexa, Auddee, and Apollo. Their absolute unwavering love, friendship, loyalty and companionship have helped me weather the many storms of life.

- All the money in the world can’t buy the wag of a dog’s tail. -

July 3, 1987 - December 17, 2001

July 25, 1989 - January 3, 2002
July 25, 1989 - February 10, 1995



You can click on any of the four ^pictures^ above to see more pictures of that dog or the group/family pictures and other photos.  Although I have thousands of photos, these are just a few to give you a glimpse.

I have created this page on my website to honor and memorialize the memory and existence of my “kids”.  It is also my little message to the world and to anyone who happens to stumble upon these pages.

I have been self-employed for the better part of my life.  This allowed me to be with my kids basically twenty-four hours a day.  They went everywhere with me and slept in my bed every night.  Maybe it would better to say that I slept in between them in their bed.  I took them with me wherever I could.  I often thought I would like to put a little bib on them and take them out to dinner with me but I never did find a restaurant that would allow that.  More than one person has stated to me that if they died and could be re-incarnated they would like to come back as one of my dogs.  I can assure you that they had a more comfortable life than most people on this planet.

Alexa was the first dog that I owned.  From the moment I purchased her from the breeder and took her home with me, she became my shadow.  I was her everything and I quickly grew to reciprocate that feeling.  I often referred to her as my wife, my girlfriend and my daughter all rolled into one.  Although I am a wee bit bias, I believe she is the finest dog who ever lived.  If anyone could create the perfect dog she was it!  She was protective but incredibly gentle and could be trusted with an infant any day.  She entertained and truly performed for me every day of her life.  If I had a dime for every time she made me laugh or smile, I would be a billionaire.  More than one person that met her called her a “one in a million Rotty”.  Personally, I disagree.  She was one in a billion!!!!

She was a “puppy” all her life.  I am certain that it was her youthful constitution that allowed her to become the grand old girl she was.  At the age of fourteen plus, she still had the spunk and spark of a puppy.  She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called eosinophilic myositis when she was around two years of age. This disease affects the muscles in the head, including the muscles required for chewing.  She had been on prednisone for over twelve years.  She was an INCREDIBLY resilient dog.  The fact that she lived to be over fourteen defies the odds, but to live the life she had being on prednisone as long as she was, is something for the record books.  And, that is not just my opinion.  She has amazed many a veterinarian in her day.

Mere words alone cannot encapsulate the special dog she was.  I can only tell you that most everyone who ever met her would acknowledge that she was a very unique dog.  I will miss her, as well as my other two kids, Auddee and Apollo, beyond description every day for the rest of my entire life!!!

Alexa developed an E. coli infection in her urinary tract that became resistant to many antibiotics in September  2001.  This type of bacterial infection is very common in female dogs.  I had reached out to the best veterinary practitioners in the country, but still was unable to avoid the ensuing complications.  Had this infection not occurred, I believe she would still be here and may have lived to be fifteen plus.  That obviously is not the case; life itself is a terminal disease.  I know that I am very fortunate to have had them all as long as I did!

My Auddee and Apollo were brother and sister.  Auddee was the first one born out of a litter of six.  I, as her daddy, was her everything.  She was a kissing/licking sweetheart from day one.  She was a happy, loving, friendly dog, but daddy was first.  Although she initially intimidated most people her friendly disposition quickly put them at ease.  If you were around her three minutes it was highly evident who her daddy was.  She was a spunky girl, like her mother Amber, right till the end.  She was diagnosed with chondroblastic osteosarcoma approximately nine months before her demise.  During the course of her illness, you would never have guessed that she was suffering from such a devastating disease.  She was one strong and youthful girl.

My Apollo was diagnosed with subaortic stenosis early in his life.  This is a serious heart condition which effects both humans and animals.  Even though his heart had a very provocative murmur and, according to some vets sounded like a “washing machine”, he was incredibly playful and energetic.  He ran around like a black cyclone and generally wore out his littermates.  He had an incredible love for and fascination with water in every way.  The very sound of water running would get his complete attention.  He would play with a garden hose or run down the beach biting the waves as he ran.  A water fountain would have him almost jumping out of the vehicle.  He was one of the happiest dogs I have ever seen in my life.  He was very dominant but so gentle it was unbelievable.  His life was cut short abruptly by his disease but I had five and one half wonderful years with him.

- Below is a bit of my own philosophy -

Throughout my life I have always been somewhat alarmed by people who discount or minimize the importance of the feelings an individual may have for something.  That something could be a dog, a cat, a frog, a turtle, a horse, a building, a plant, a car or whatever.

In my opinion if someone feels passionately about or has great love for something that is a wonderful thing!  Who am I, or anyone for that matter, to judge why or for what someone else has strong feelings?  I have heard people say things like “I don’t understand how could someone run into a burning building to save a dog”.  As difficult as that person may find the concept, I find it equally perplexing that they cannot understand.  The concept I am speaking of is LOVE.  I believe it is the epitome of arrogance for one person to stand in judgment as to what should be important to another. 

To me, anyone who does not understand why someone would sacrifice their own life, or go without for the benefit of someone or something they loved, must be rather hollow in the heart department.  At the very least, they must never have experienced true love.  Would I say they are bad people?  Absolutely not!!!  But I may suggest that they open their minds and hearts a bit.

A few years ago, while on the phone one night with my now departed, dear friend, Lawrence “Butch” Colvin, I was in tears of grief and pain over the loss of my baby boy “Apollo”.  My friend, Butch, clearly understood the connection I had with my kids/puppies.  He offered some words of solace and understanding that I still hold dear to my heart and forever will.  He said, “Philip, you are so lucky to have had this love and connection because so many people will go a lifetime and never experience this or even know what it is about”.  How right he was!!!!! There is much to be said about the quote, “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all”. 

I wish everyone on this planet could experience and know this kind of unconditional love at least once in their life.  If people empathized and loved a bit more, then perhaps they would not be so quick to hurt someone or something else.

Most religions and cultures have their own version of the “Golden Rule”.   I believe the most familiar and most often quoted is:

“Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.”

I will even add a bit of my own...

To apply the golden rule adequately, we need knowledge and imagination. We need to know what effect our actions have on the lives of those around us. We need to be able to imagine ourselves, vividly and accurately, in the other person's place, on the receiving end of the action. With knowledge, imagination, and the golden rule, we can make great progress in our moral thinking.

My closing words are these....  For anyone that has lost something they deeply loved and think that there is no one that understands the enormity of their pain and the magnitude of their sense of loss, let me ABSOLUTELY ASSURE you that there is at least one person alive on this planet that understands! 

During the process of extreme grief I understand that you can really get down and out; the depression can be overwhelming.  Please understand that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. 

The Apronman

Below is a copy of what has become known as “ Senator Vest’s Eulogy To A Dog”.  There are a few conflicting stories as to how this speech was given.  Before he was a United States Senator, George Graham Vest was an attorney.  It was said that he either was asked to make some type of plea to a jury on behalf of a man who was seeking damages from another man who shot the plaintiff’s dog ( Old Drum ) or whether he actually represented this man directly.  You can go to any search engine and find many pieces of information regarding this.  I believe this speech was made to a jury in Warrensburg, Missouri  in September 1870.  Through the direction of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce, and coordinated efforts of many dog lovers over the country, Old Drum was immortalized in a statue on the Johnson County Courthouse lawn, in Warrensburg.  This is supposed to be only a part of the speech to the jury and there are a few versions but I believe you will find the one below basically accurate.  I would think that most people, dog lovers or not, would find it rather moving..........


- Senator Vest's Eulogy to a Dog -

GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY.  "The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy.  His son and daughter that he has reared with loving care may become ungrateful.  Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith.  The money that a man has he may lose.  It flies away from him when he may need it most.  Man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action.  The people who are prone to fall on their knees and do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.  The one absolutely unselfish friend a man may have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is the dog."

"Gentlemen of the jury, a man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and in sickness.  He will sleep on the cold ground when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.  He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come encounter with the roughness of the world.  He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.  When all other friends desert, he remains.  When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens."

"If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast into the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws and eyes sad but open, in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death."

April 2, 2002 - April 8, 2009

This portion is dedicated to "Scrappy" who helped fill a very big hole in my heart and soul for seven years...

He will be missed too!!!

Scrappy's Tribute Page


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